Joining 4-H is easy. This page walks through the steps you need to take to join the Madison County 4-H program. All of these steps must be completed by March 15th of the year to be able to compete in that year's 4-H contests, competitions, and project judgings. If you need assistance at any step of the way, please contact the OSU Extension Office in Madison County at 740-852-0975.
Who can join 4-H?
Ohio 4-H membership is based on a child's age and grade as of January 1 of the current project year. Eligibility for Cloverbud participation begins when a child is enrolled in Kindergarten and is five years old. Eligibility for participation in 4-H projects and competitive events begins when a child is age 8 and in the 3rd grade. Any youth age 9 or above are eligible for project membership, regardless of grade level. Membership requires enrollment in an authorized Ohio 4-H club or group under the direction of an OSU Extension professional or an approved adult volunteer. A youth’s 4-H eligibility ends December 31 the year he or she turns 19. Joining Ohio 4-H is a privilege and responsibility for individuals and is subject to the Ohio 4-H Code of Conduct and applicable policies of The Ohio State University.
Step 1: Selecting a 4-H Club
First, you need to find a club that fits your needs. We have over 30 clubs spread throughout the county and each one is a little different. Some clubs specialize in livestock projects, some focus more on clothing & sewing projects, only some have Cloverbud programs, and there are even some that offer any project. The clubs range in size from 5 to over 60 kids and everywhere in between.
To see a list of our current 4-H Clubs you can follow this link here:
We encourage you to choose a 4-H Club that has similar interests and meets in a reasonable traveling distance for you. Feel free to try out different 4-H Clubs.
Step 2: Begin Attending a 4-H Club
Once you have settled in and chosen a 4-H Club you need to start attending their 4-H Club Meetings. In Madison County, for a 4-H Member to be in "Good Standing" a 4-H'er needs to:
- Attend at least 50% of their 4-H Club's meetings or equivalent to the 4-H Club requirement. (Each 4-H Club should have a minimum of 6 meetings a 4-H program year, October - September. Each club may have their own requirements for the amount of meetings required to attend).
- Complete all club requirements that are specified in that 4-H Club's Constitution and By-Laws. (examples: attend a certain amount of meetings complete skillathon, sit on a 4-H Club Committee, contribute to fundraiser, assist with community service, etc.)
Step 3: Select a 4-H Project
For our project age 4-H'ers, not Cloverbuds, they must sign up for at least one 4-H Project to take by March 15th of each year. Members may select 4-H project(s) to explore through club and county activities. You may use the 4-H Family Guide to view an online document, stop in the Madison County Extension Office (217 Elm Street, London) to pick up a paper copy or check out 4-H Project Central to learn about each one. Cloverbud members, age 5 and in Kindergarten until age 8 and in 3rd grade participate in non-competitive activities exploring a variety of fun, hands-on interest areas.
- Project age 4-H'ers must be signed up for at least one 4-H project by March 15
- Any members that dropped a project throughout the year must notify the Extension Office prior to June 1.
- To be complete a 4-H program year and be a member in good standing a 4-H'er must take at least one 4-H project and attend judging/evaluation for that one project. (*Note: the Madison County Fair is not a requirement to complete the project. You can set up an alternative judging with your advisor or the Extension Office).
Step 4: Enroll in 4-H Online
In a Madison County 4-H'ers first year you must enroll on 4-H Online by creating a new profile, after you have had a discussion with the club advisor, and select at least one 4-H project for project age 4-H'ers (Cloverbuds do not need to list a 4-H Project - simply select the "Cloverbud" project). This is due by March 15th.
Youth are expected to affiliate with the 4-H program in their county of residence. However, in some circumstances, it is appropriate for a youth to participate in a county other than their county of residence. This can be done with the approval of the 4-H professionals in both the county of residence and the county of the request. Parents seeking 4-H membership for their child in a county in which they do not reside should complete the Request for 4-H Membership Across County Lines Form and turn them in by March 15.
- Make sure you put down at least one project if you are of 4-H project age.
- You must be in contact with your club advisor prior to enrolling in 4-H and selecting a project. They can help you determine what projects to take!
- If youth need accommodation of some kind in our 4-H program due to a physical, emotional, or mental disability please fill out our Winning 4-H Plan form that allows our Advisors, Extension Staff, Judges, Camp Staff, and more know how we can best accommodate your youth. Please fill out the following form and turn it into the Madison County Extension Office (217 Elm Street, London) by June 1st.
If you've done all those steps then you will be enrolled in the Madison County 4-H program. From then on you will begin to receive 4-H Newsletters, information about 4-H Project judging/evaluation, 4-H Camp, the Madison County Fair, and more. Just to note, in 4-H you must re-enroll every year. 4-H Enrollment runs on our program year (October - September). You may begin enrolling in 4-H from October 1st to March 15 and contests, competitions, and judging/evaluation will take place in the months of June through August. For more information about re-enrolling please visit the following link: